• At the end of August 2017, there were over 1,186 million wireless telephone subscriptions in India.
  • Alongside growth, public concern on potential adverse health effects of cell phone radiation also grew. Government of India and its agencies such as the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) started addressing these issues more seriously
  • ICMR extended modest funding to a few institutions to carry out projects on the adverse effects. These studies indicated some adverse effects.
  • Regrettably, there was no critical appraisal of these questionable studies, though ICMR repeatedly asserted that there is no conclusive evidence for any harm.

Some other studies

  • A paper in Current Science (December 27, 2017) claimed that mobile phone radiation induced sedation in cockroaches and caused changes in enzyme systems, protein content, total free amino acids.
  • Overall, the study on cockroaches provides no useful information for the safety evaluation of EMR exposure because of the several weaknesses mentioned above.
  • It is not possible to draw any meaningful conclusions related to human health and cell phone use to justify the warning.
  • Since a few countries chose guidelines stricter than those recommended by the International Commission for Non Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP), a few groups in India demanded country-specific safety guidelines.
  • On 12 February 2014, the 53rd report of the Standing Committee on Information Technology recommended that Government should entrust the scientific study on impact of telecom towers and handsets on humans to a reputed Government organization in a time-bound programme.
  • An ICMR-led, All India Institute of Medical Sciences-partnered multidisciplinary project is poised “to study the effect of RFR emitted from cell phone on cancer, heart, reproductive organs, ear and brain related problems, if any”.
  • It must be borne in mind that the $25 million, US National Toxicology Project which carried out studies of cell phone radiation on rats and mouse, with precise control over all variables, is yet to produce a conclusive report.
  • The infinitely complicated, ICMR study is unlikely to offer any actionable inputs to arrive at India-centric guidelines.
  • Since the present guidelines have a safety factor of 500, we need not lose sleep over the potential adverse effects of cell tower/phone radiation.